Friday 3 June 2016

Buying a House - Where to Start?

Buying a house is one of the biggest financial commitments that you can make, and one that I am currently in the process of going through myself. There are loads of additional costs when buying a house that you may not have thought about or even budgeted for. It’s not as simple as just paying a 5 or 10% deposit on a house, there are also a number of fees involved. I’ll be posting even more tips and tricks over the coming months and hopefully it will help at least one person so please keep an eye out for those here on my  blog.

The first stage we went through was to get a financial adviser to see if we could get a mortgage. After doing this process a lot of people said “you could have just gone to the bank” but an adviser can search across multiple rates in the market and get the best deal. Yes you will have to pay a fee but for me this was worth doing as it saved me a lot of time and he was there to answer any questions at the drop of a hat. An independent financial adviser is also qualified to give you advice, they know what they are talking about. They can provide advice on the very best products tailored just for your needs.

I’ll be honest by this stage I was scared. I had no idea if we could borrow enough to get our home or if we would have to settle for a tiny one bedroom apartment. I worried that after our mortgage and bills that there would be no disposable income left for emergencies, birthday presents or spontaneous social events. I worried our bank accounts would be drained with hidden fees and we would never be able to afford furniture or decorating supplies. How will I ever afford to get married, go on holiday or have a life? My mind was running wild. I had no idea how much bills cost so could only assume rough amounts based on the internet. I felt like I had no one to talk to as most of my friends have already moved out and no one else was in the same situation as me. No one likes to actually talk about how much they’re paying out either so I had nothing to compare to.

The deals that the financial adviser could give us were exclusive and could not be bought on the high street and we could borrow a lot more than expected, plenty for the property we were after. As soon as we left our meeting with the rough figures in our head, we started our house hunt by looking on Rightmove, Primelocation, Zoopla and various other estate agent websites. We gave our details to every Estate Agent in Norwich and our criteria and awaited the emails and calls to come through. This was really difficult. We’d see a house we liked, by the time we had thought about it, it was sold. The websites were not updated as fast as the houses were selling and we really needed to get our butts in gear and start booking in some viewings. I did wonder how on earth we would view a house when we both work 9-5 and I also work most weekends.

I used the Cost of Moving Calculator from the reallymoving website which really helped me start to put aside some funds to afford the fees. reallymoving was launched in 1999 and is the UK’s leading provider of instant quotes for home moving services. They can provide you instant quotes for conveyancing, surveys and removals. If you want to find out how much it will cost you to move home, head over to the Cost of Moving Calculator. This calculator is simple to use and you can choose buying, selling or buying and selling as an option.

We had previously been quoted £1200 for conveyancing and a survey but on reallymoving I was quoted just £600 – that’s a saving of 50%! You can then click for quotes for particular aspects. I clicked the conveyancing quotes and filled in all of the information about the property I am purchasing. I then had the option to be sent some quotes from local firms which was really handy. It also calculates your stamp duty cost and a rough estimate on how much a removal service will be. I found the calculator to be very useful and I wish I had known about it sooner in order to really save some money. I would definitely recommend using the calculator to get a rough idea on the costs so you know how much extra to allow for.

The first house we viewed was the next road across from where I live now and I really liked it. I think it was easy to like the first one I saw because it was the first time I really pictured myself moving out and it got me excited and I wasn’t able to see the flaws like the lack of parking. We continued to view houses, not really knowing what questions to ask or what exactly we were looking for. Thankfully people do let you view their houses after work and on the weekends so we could easily fit these into our schedule. You need to be prepared for heartbreak, you may see a house that you like online and it’s not what it seems in real life. You may also start picturing how everything is going to be decorated and how you’re going to set each room out and find out that someone has put in an offer more than you can afford. Its stressful, you will more than likely argue, you will feel like you’re making no progress at all. Try not to get your heart set on anything because until those contracts are exchanged anything could go wrong! It’s only bricks and mortar after all..

Have you recently moved house? Stay tuned for my next post on how to put in an offer on a property and what to expect.


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